If you aren't already looking for love online, maybe you should start. Because those who've already found love on the intertubes are enjoying happy, stable marriages while you continue having empty, fleeting relationships with people you meet in real life.
A new study published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says nearly 35 percent of married couples met on the Internet in some fashion. Most couples whose online love blossomed into real world matrimony met through chat rooms or social networks, but 45 percent met on dating websites. The research was based on a survey of over 19,000 people married between 2005 and 2012, so this wasn't taken from a modest sample size. The kicker: those who met online are enjoying happier marriages, and are less likely to split, according to the survey.
But before you go signing up for eHarmony in a desperate attempt to find the love of your life, a real gentle soul, your own personal Ryan Gosling or Jennifer Lawrence, know this: the survey was paid for by eHarmony. Yup, the online dating website paid $130,000 to commission the research. And the study's lead author, John Cacioppo, is a long-serving member of eHarmony's Scientific Advisory Board. So, that's the catch. But PNAS is a well-regarded journal, and you can't deny the study's extensive sample size.
Once you get past that, you can start to think about maybe expanding your pick-up habits beyond the bar scene. If these people are all married and happy, the Internet can't be so bad, right? After all, the Internet offers a wider selection than whoever is still around at last call of your local watering hole. "The pool of applicants on the Internet is so much greater than the pool of applicants at your church or favorite bar … or through friends of friends," eHarmony CEO Dr. Neil Clark Warren told AllThingsD. Other experts seem to agree. "Societally, we are going to increasingly meet more of our romantic partners online as we establish more of an online presence in terms of social media," Caitlin Moldvay, a "dating industry senior analyst," told USA Today.
Welp, maybe it's time to get Tinder.